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Young Filipino named Servant of God

MANILA (UCAN):  A Filipino teenager, Darwin Ramos, could be on his way to sainthood after the Vatican declared him a Servant of God, the first step in the long process toward canonisation as a saint. The declaration was made by Angelo Cardinal Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on March 29 but was only made public in Manila, the Philippines, on May 31. Ramos died in 2012 at the age of 17.
 
The work of the Cubao Diocesan Tribunal for the canonisation was initiated by the postulator, French Dominican Father Thomas de Gabory.
 
“The Vatican has given us the go signal to go deeper into his life, how he lived his faith and how he gave witness to Jesus to whom he was very close,” said Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao.
 
The bishop said the Vatican declaration was also a reminder that, “we are invited to give witness to our faith in concrete ways.”
 
The bishop started the process for the beatification of Ramos at the request of The Friends of Darwin Ramos Association, which begins with the examination of his life. 
 
Ramos’ friends have praised his devotion to his faith even as he battled Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease characterised by muscle weakness.
 
“Darwin is an example of holiness. Being a street child, afflicted with myopathy, he is closely united with Christ in his suffering and joy,” Bishop Ongtioco said.
 
Ramos was born in 1994 in the slums of Pasay City, in Metro Manila.
 
At the age of 12, he volunteered to help street children through the foundation Tulay ng Kabataan (Children’s Bridge).
 
After he discovered his faith, he received the sacrament of baptism and his first Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation in 2007.
 
Even as his physical condition deteriorated, Ramos became an inspiration to the staff and children at the centre.
 
Bishop Ongtioco said the boy developed a “deep personal relationship with Christ,” taking time every day to pray and entrust himself to God.
 
In 2012, Ramos’ condition worsened, but even in the hospital he maintained his friendly attitude and thanked everyone for helping him.
 
He died at the Philippine Children’s Medical Centre in Quezon City on 23 September 2012.
 
A person can only be beatified upon verification of a miracle attributed to them. Other steps towards sainthood are declarations of Venerable, Blessed and, finally, canonisation.

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